Public spaces play a significant role in organizing the life of every community but defining what differentiates them from other spaces within the city is not an easy task. Once these spaces start to settle into the collective memory of the local communities, they become key elements that concentrate the mental image of a city. While this process usually happens with urban spaces, monuments and isolated architectural elements can also become markers for the urban life of an area. So, what happens when dramatic events like fires, war, or even the pandemic alter that image?
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Mariela Ajras: “I Think of the City as a Large Canvas Loaded With Morphological and Historical Stories”
Addressing themes involving memory, oblivion and gender, the Argentinean visual artist and muralist, Mariela Ajras, displays her art on the walls of numerous cities around the world such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, Barcelona, Valencia, Salamanca, Mexico City, Bogota, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, among many others. With a background in psychology, she has participated in different urban art festivals, exhibitions, fairs and public art projects, one of the largest murals in the city of Buenos Aires being the one she developed for the project "Corredor de la Memoria", commemorating the 25th anniversary of the AMIA bombing.
Design Justice is a branch of architecture and design focused on redesigning cities, products, services and environments with historic reparations in mind.
The term emerged about 7 years ago when debates and dialogues about inclusion and diversity in spaces started to get stronger, creating movements that fought for the rights of people who had their roots and choices denied in society.
In 1854, the American writer Henry David Thoreau wrote the classic work “Walden”, recounting his experience of life in the woods and extolling the advantages of simple and self-sufficient life. Right at the beginning of the book, the author comments that, if someone wants to travel 48 km to visit the countryside, it would be faster to walk than to opt for a locomotive.
Within the Latin American and Caribbean region, it has been recorded that at least 25% of the population lives in informal settlements. Given that their expansion is one of the major problems afflicting these cities, a project is presented, supported by the IDB, which proposes how new technologies are capable of contributing to the identification and detection of these areas in order to intervene in them and help reduce urban informality.
It was 1968 when Ricardo Bofill Architecture Workshop's published a kind of manifesto in reaction to the pressing demands of a society in constant transformation. The idea of the City in Space saw the light of day for the first time and was proclaimed as an absolute architecture, capable of resolving all the complexities of its contemporaneity through a unique open, flexible and three-dimensional model.
An architectural project conceived from the neoliberal system can only be hostile. That's what Father Júlio Lancellotti, an active figure in actions to support homeless people in São Paulo, says. His work at the head of Pastoral do Povo da Rua has deservedly received the attention of national and international media, as well as being frequently published on his own social networks, drawing the attention of the public and authorities to urgent issues of inequality, invisibility of the most vulnerable and the hostility of our architecture and public spaces.
André Ricard and Daniel Giralt-Miracle, the member responsible for ADI/FAD, proposed the island of Ibiza as the venue for the ICSID Biennial Congress in 1971. That's how the story began. At that time, the so-called "Urquinaona Open Design Group" already existed in Barcelona. From the group, and with Carlos Ferrater at the head, they offered their help to the organization of the congress. They refused, as everything seemed to have already been organised. Together with Fernando Bendito, Ferrater asks about accommodation for the students. They still had nothing. They get the opportunity they were waiting for. Thousands of invitations are sent out to students all over the world. The number of replies was greater than the number of registered students.
The Colombia Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is thought of as an artefact with the ability to tell the past, present and future stories of the country's culture through its music. Supported by its geography and its cities, the pavilion designed by Pacheco Estudio de Arquitectura intersperses dense vegetation with water, representing the great biodiversity of its plant and animal world, and is composed of a reticular structure in three dimensions symbolising the urban centres that are constantly growing.
By proposing a route from the vegetable and aquatic floor to the open ceiling, the artefact is quickly identifiable from a distance and seeks to remain in the memory of those who visit it as a fresh, open space that reveals itself to all and finds itself in constant development.
When examining the world of African cinema, there are few names more prominent than that of Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène. His films ‘La Noire de…’ and ‘Mandabi’, released in 1966 and 1968 respectively, are films that tell evocative stories on the legacies of colonialism, identity, and immigration. And whilst these two films are relatively slow-spaced, ‘slice-of-life stories, they also offer a valuable spatial critique of the setting where the films are based, providing a helpful framework to understand the intricacies of the post-colonial African city, and the contrast between the African and European metropolises.
“Successful, vibrant, happy cities arise out of the visions of many, not the powerful few.” - Jane Jacobs.
While we’ve seen progress in female representation over the last century, women’s perspectives and voices are still significantly marginalized. This year, the UN reported that women serve as Heads of State or Government in only 22 countries and that 119 countries have never had a female leader, despite the strong case that their leadership makes for more inclusive decision-making and more representative governance. Moreover, women occupy just 10 percent of the highest-ranking jobs at the world’s leading architecture firms.
In the early modern period, Taoist monks cultivated Bonsai trees seeking to bring their beauty from the outside to the inside, considering them a link between the human and the divine. Likewise, in the 18th century, different tree-lined walks and avenues arose on the outskirts of some European cities, generating spaces for rest and socialization that were previously non-existent in cities at that time.
In cities today, trees are essential elements in the urbanization process and act as irreplaceable counterpoints to manmade constructions for spatial harmony. Choosing appropriate tree species and maintaining them correctly generates countless benefits, such as acoustic and visual insulation, temperature regulation, the generation of biological corridors, and control of wind speeds. The main mistake planners can make when choosing tree species is forgetting that they are living beings and have specific needs.
What should we consider to pick them correctly?
The OMA-Designed CMG Qianhai Global Trade Center has broken ground in Shenzhen. Unveiled during the inauguration ceremony for Qianhai Significant Projects in China, the mixed-used 360,000 square-meter development will create a Micro-City environment, blurring traditional boundaries between building and city.
In the final episode of season 2, hosts Eric Jaffe and Vanessa Quirk discuss the past, present, and future of responsive architecture with Sidewalk Labs’ director of public realm Jesse Shapins, engineer and microclimate expert Goncalo Pedro, Bubbletecture author Sharon Francis, and renowned architect Liz Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro.